Before I begin, let me tell you this. My last two years of high school weren't normal. Not in the least. I am an 18 year old boy from India and over here we shift schools to go to a pre-university' level, which includes two years of eleventh and twelfth. The pressure to get into med school had reached it's peak during these two years. I was put in an institution that was solely dedicated to helping candidates clear competetive examinations. Their advertisement read "THE RIGHT PATH TO GET INTO MEDICINE". What I didn't realise was that it was merely a coaching centre under the guise of a promising high school. The teachers were bothered only about the grades and on how well other branches in the city were doing compared to ours. My parents had put me here, hopeful of the future, and although it wasn't their fault, I still get mad at times thinkng about how my other friends were havibg fun back then. But I can't blame them. They love me.
It was cool at first, I was making friends and the lack of a playground, the lack of extra-curricular activities didn't affect me. I was somehow happy in a very weird way, probably because I was scoring well, I'm not sure. But soon enough, five months into it all, I felt stuck and claustrophobic. Every morning, I would wake up with a groan, and I would wonder looking at that solitary building built on the foundations of pressure and stress Where are the CCTV cameras? Where is the auditorium? Where are the school club meets? This doesn't feel like school.
It was a life, not meant to be lived by people like me. I used to be the most active kid in school before this. Hand raised in confident answer, pen ticking off tasks at a club meet, editing written material for the school magazine and here I was sitting infront of a pile of textbooks. But I shut up and decided to take it in my stride, wishing for a better future. But life has incredible ways of showing us what we are truly made of. The institution segregated the students based on their grades and I was put in a class of people who were top scorers and I was among them. They increased the number of tests and the competition became crazy. We had separate teachers,a relentless schedule that started at seven in the morning to five-thirty in the evening. That was when I lost it. I couldn't handle it. I am an avid writer and I had stopped writing completely just for those weekly tests, which slowly extended to Sundays as well. Teachers would mock and berate me for scoring lesser grades than my classmates and people I had considered to be best friends, laughed at my sorry state. My life suddenly became a whirlwind of OMR sheets, late nights of studying and later, cryng into my pillow. I was harming my self, like a fool, trying to find relief in physical pain.
I think my physics teacher made a huge impact on me. He hated me, perhaps for the fact that amongst a class of fifteen I stood at the ninth position because of his subject. I have always loved physics, but at that place I found myself loathing the very process of learning. The man had made me stand up in class, mocked me in front of my friends for my marks and told me that I was "doing an injustice to all the talented students in the room simply by being present and forcing the teachers to waste time by focusng on me."
Before him, I had been a teacher's pet. He taught me that we cannot always stay on a constant platform in life. That we cannot always be the best. Four of my friends stuck with me, and they are my best friends. Hardships put us in a position where we have the power to know who will stick with us or ditch us. I wrongly put my faith in people I thought, had my back. And that taught me to be careful with people and the amount of trust I give them, no matter how long I have known them. The number of years you've known them does not equal to the love and support a true friend might give you.
I didn't have prom, hell I didn't even have a graduation party. But you know what? It's cool. I have learnt that I'm incredibly strong and if I can survive two whole years of that mental torture, then hell yeah, I can survive anything. Today, I'm in college, making friends, setting my social life together, one tiny piece at a time. And I used to think that I need to do well to show everybody at 'high-school' that I am capable of so much more.
I'll do it, because it's my life.
I'll do it for myself.
I deserve better.